Between my book friends’ excitement over Mexican Gothic and the general hype of book twitter and bookstagram, I could not wait to get my hands on this gorgeous book. I’m kind of a wimp, so horror isn’t usually something I pick up, but I’m so glad I made an exception.
Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Rey
Genres: Gothic Horror
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic aristocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico. “It’s Lovecraft meets the Brontës in Latin America, and after a slow-burn start Mexican Gothic gets seriously weird” (The Guardian).
After receiving a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find – her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
Let’s start off with Noemi. She is one of my favorite heroines at the moment because of her sharp sense of humor, her determination to get to the bottom of things, her stubbornness, her curiosity, and her fantastic sense of fashion. The audiobook narrator did a fantastic job voicing Noemi, but even if I’d read it, I know Noemi would have just flown off the page. I loved seeing her point of view as she described the setting in contrast to her eclectic lifestyle in Mexico City, and I loved seeing the change in her as things became more and more eerie. Her interactions with the residents of the house were so interesting as she slowly learned more and more about them. Each character is so well written in their strangeness, as they fit so well with the setting and atmosphere.
Speaking of which, the setting, atmosphere, and mood of this book is incredibly gothic and eerie and creepy in the best way. Every detail conveys this, and I felt able to sink into the prose and immerse myself in the way Moreno-Garcia was telling this story. I love books set in huge houses, so exploring High Place was so much fun. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by a British mansion set in the Mexican countryside? Not only did every detail convey the gothic atmosphere, but it fit so well in the historical setting. I loved learning more about this setting I’ve never read about, and now I just want more!
What really clinches this book for me as a winner is the way the tension continuously amps up, bit by bit. The horror crept up on me, taking me by surprise as I simultaneously filled with dread and couldn’t take my earbuds out of my ears. It was such a thrilling experience.
I was completely enthralled by this book, and I cannot stop thinking about it! As a newbie to horror, this was exactly what I needed to get into the genre. I’ll definitely be recommending this book and looking into all of the author’s back list!